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Al-Sane threatens to grill finance minister Al-Awadhi calls for formation of new govt

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 1: Parliament Secretary MP Yakoub Al-Sane has announced his plan to grill the next finance minister if the contract on the construction of Al-Zour power station is not cancelled. The lawmaker made the announcement after finding out that interim Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah has voiced his intention not to accept the ministerial post in the next government. He said he will first discuss the issue with the new finance minister, explain to him the violations, give him a chance to study the issue and then wait for his final decision. If the new minister cooperates by taking serious steps in addressing the issue, including the cancellation of the contract; he will not present the grilling request. He pointed out the grilling request is not a personal attack on Sheikh Salem, it is rather addressed to any finance minister who will approve the contract and fail to hold accountable the officials behind the alleged violations.

He added he will also talk to the new finance minister about the violations in the Public Institution for Social Security; while urging him to allow the fact-finding committee formed by Sheikh Salem to continue its work and cooperate with the parliamentary panel to look into the issue. Meanwhile, MP Kamel Al- Awadhi does not see any justification for HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak to delay the formation of the new government, which should be done before the parliamentary session on Jan 7. He pointed out the premier may choose ministers during the holidays in order to complete other procedures, such as the oath-taking, on Sunday or Monday to be ready for the legislative session on Tuesday. He asserted it is not necessary for the prime minister to form an entirely new government as the requirement is just to replace some ministers like acting Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, Oil Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali and Justice Minister Shareeda Mosherji who have expressed their intention not to participate in the next government; in addition to the reshuffling of some members.

In a related issue, sources disclosed a tribal group had earlier asked the prime minister to keep acting Minister of Education and Higher Education Nayef Al- Hajraf. Sources said the group is confident that their demand will be met, especially after Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah excused himself from the new government for health reasons. Sources added the group requested that Al-Hajraf remains in his post or be given the finance portfolio since this is his field of specialization. Meanwhile, sources said interim State Minister for Development and Planning Affairs Dr Rola Dashti has expressed disappointment over the possibility that she will not be part of the new government, although she still hopes to be appointed to another ministerial post. Sources close to Dashti asserted she has been the most honest member of the acting government and has always been supportive of the prime minister’s efforts to perform his duties well.

They also pointed out that she worked hard to implement the laws and lay down a work mechanism which reflects the governmental method; hence, she does not deserve to be excluded from the new cabinet. Furthermore, MP Mohammed Tanna Al-Anazi has called for the revision of the rent contract into ownership contract for Kuwaiti women who obtained government houses in Al- Naseem, Al-Oyoun, Al-Ardiya, Al-Dhouhr and other areas. He said the revision will greatly contribute to efforts to address the housing problem that the women have been facing for years, especially since they have been staying in these houses for more than 20 years. He lamented the existing laws are not enou1gh to protect the rights of Kuwaiti women, particularly those married to non-Kuwaitis as they have been deprived of the housing rights granted to widows or divorced who got married to Kuwaitis.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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